Go Longhand for a Change

Go Longhand for a Change

Handwriting improves your cognitive abilities and stays out of the way of your thought process, so it's a good way to look at things from a new angle and keep you on your toes. 

Michelle E. (@micee509) - Profile Photo

@micee509

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Communication

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Organize Your Thoughts Before Writing

While there's something to be said for spontaneous writing, it really helps if you sit down and organize your thoughts beforehand. 

No matter your favorite method of organizing yourself, you'll find that putting together long-form pieces is much easier with a rough outline to work from.

Set a Regular Schedule

Setting up and sticking to it is one of the best ways to perfect your writing. 

Do it in the morning for best results, and break it up into small increments to avoid anxiety. Don't write during unscheduled times, either (though jotting down notes is okay—inspiration can strike at the strangest of times). 

Keep Up with Good Grammar

Proofreading is an important part of writing, and despite some folks having a knack for good grammar, none of us is perfect. 

Be sure to take advantage of some of the great word tools out there. Not only will they keep you writing correctly, but they're likely to keep you learning new words and idioms to freshen up your writing.

Keep a Journal

One of the best ways to improve your writing is to keep a separate journal. 

If you find it too difficult to just sit down and start writing, you can plan out a goal for your journal beforehand—it keeps you focused without burdening you with rules. =

Use Distraction-Free Writing Tools

Computers have given us a lot of great tools in the name of writing, but they also provide a myriad of distractions that can Be sure to use distraction-free writing tools—programs that block out all the other stuff on your screen and give you a large writing space where you can just go at it

Learn From Other Good Writers

Never stop reading, and always keep an eye on what famous writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Conan O'Brien, Jerry Seinfeld, and many others are saying about the strategies they use to write well—you never know when you may discover something new.

Know Your Most Common Mistakes

... in order to avoid them. 

Know your typos, cliches, and misheard expressions that constantly haunt even your best writing. Know which mistakes are your most common, and focus on fixing them one at a time. If more extreme measures are needed, you can also consider autocorrecting them as you write.

Beat Writer's Block

Try curing it with some writing toys, or draft it as an email to get the juices flowing. Just showing up to your scheduled time works pretty well, too.

If you find it becomes a recurring problem, stop your writing sessions in the middle of a sentence to give yourself somewhere to pick up from the next time you sit down—there's nothing worse for writer's block than a blank page.

Remember Why You're Writing

Remind yourself why you write to keep yourself motivated. 

Write your goals on your mirror with dry erase markers, or try one of our many other motivation tips out there. 

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RELATED IDEAS

  1. Decide what the book is about. Write the argument of your book in a sentence, then turn that into a paragraph, then into a one-page outline. Then write a table of contents to help guide your writing. Break each chapter into a few sections.
  2. Set a daily word count goal. John Grisham began writing when he was really busy as a lawyer and new dad. He got up an hour or two early and wrote one page a day until he had a novel. A page is about 300 words.
  3. Set a time to work on your book every day. Consistency makes creativity easier.
  4. Write in the same special place every time that is different from where you do other activities.

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IDEAS

Integrating journaling in your daily life

The biggest mistake is to journal only in reaction to something that is going on, instead of letting it be part of a system.

Make writing in your personal journal part of your everyday routine.

The attention span of internet users has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. That means you’ve got to grab your readers and convince them to stay. Or, at the very least, quickly give them something they can take away.

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